The Governor of Tennessee Must Obey Tennessee Law: No State Insurance Exchange!
By Publius Huldah
According to an article posted by Lesley Swann of the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, the federal obamacare Act doesn’t actually require The People to submit to obamacare.1
Accordingly, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius is demanding that The States set up State Insurance Exchanges, by means of which The States will force The People into obamacare.
While 20 States have already given notice that they will not implement obamacare by setting up the State Exchanges; Tennessee’s RINO Governor, Bill Haslam, is “undecided” as to whether he will force Tennesseans to submit to obamacare.
But Haslam has no lawful authority to force The People of Tennessee into State Exchanges. If he does it anyway, he will commit the following five (5) violations of Tennessee Law:
1. The Tennessee Health Freedom Act
The Tennessee Legislature enacted in 2011 the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. Sec. 56-7-1016. 2
Under this Act, no public official, employee, or agent of Tennessee may force The People of Tennessee to purchase health insurance or impose any penalty for not purchasing such insurance.
So if Haslam attempts to force The People of Tennessee to participate in a State Insurance Exchange, he will violate the Tennessee Health Freedom Act.
2. The State Legislature makes the Laws – not the Governor
The Constitution of the State of Tennessee says at Article II:
“Section 1: The powers of the government shall be divided into three distinct departments: legislative, executive, and judicial.
Section 2: No person or persons belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others, except in the cases herein directed or permitted. [boldface mine]
Section 3: The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives….”
If Haslam attempts to force Tennesseans into a State Insurance Exchange, he will violate the Separation of Powers Principle enshrined at Art. II, Sections 1 – 3.
3. The Governor’s Powers are Enumerated, Defined, and Strictly Limited.
Here is a complete list of the enumerated powers and duties of the Governor of Tennessee. Article III provides that:
Section 1: The executive power of the state is vested in a governor [See Sec. 10 below].
Section 5: The governor is commander-in-chief of the State Militia
Section 6: The governor may grant reprieves and pardons.
Section 8: The governor may require written information from officers in the executive department, about their duties.
Section 9: The governor may, on extraordinary occasions, convene the General Assembly.
Section 10: The governor shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Section 11: The governor is to give the Legislature information on the state of the government, and recommend matters for their consideration.
Section 14: The governor may temporarily fill vacancies in office.
Section 15: The governor is to be keeper of the Seal of the State of Tennessee.
Section 16: The governor is to sign and seal all grants and commissions of the State.
Section 18: The governor is to sign, or veto, or allow to become law without his signature, every Bill, Joint Resolution or Order passed by the Legislature. He may reduce or disapprove sums of money appropriated for specific items.
Article VI, Section 11: When any judge of the State Supreme Court is disqualified from presiding over a case, the governor is to specially commission another person to serve as judge on that case.
Article VIII, Section 2: The governor is to appoint certain officers of the State Militia.
That’s it! That’s all the governor of the State of Tennessee has lawful authority to do. He has no lawful authority to make laws. He has no lawful authority to force Tennesseans into a Health Insurance Exchange. If Haslam attempts to do this anyway, he will usurp powers not delegated to him by the Tennessee Constitution.
4. The Governor’s Duty is to Enforce the Laws the Legislature Makes!
Note that Art. III, Sec. 10 requires the governor to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed”. As long as the laws made by the Legislature are constitutional, the governor is obligated to enforce them! This means that Haslam must refuse to implement the State Exchange. If he doesn’t refuse to implement the State Exchange, he will be guilty of dereliction of his Constitutional Duty.
5. The Governor is Required by his Oath to Obey the Tennessee Constitution
Article X, Section 1, of the Tennessee Constitution requires the governor to take an Oath to support the Tennessee Constitution.
If he takes his orders from Kathleen Sibelius instead of from the Tennessee Constitution and the Tennessee Legislature, he will violate his Oath to support the State Constitution.
Article X, Sec. 1 of the Tennessee Constitution, and Art. VI, clause 3 of the federal Constitution, also require Haslam to support the federal Constitution. Obamacare is altogether unconstitutional as outside the scope of the legislative powers delegated to Congress. This is plain and clearly proven. 3 Thus, Haslam is required by Oath to refuse to enforce obamacare because obamacare is unconstitutional.
If Haslam Violates the State Constitution and State Law, he must be Impeached and Removed.
Article V, Sec. 4 of the Tennessee Constitution provides that the governor shall be liable to impeachment whenever, in the opinion of the Tennessee House of Representatives, he commits any crime in his official capacity which requires disqualification.
“1. An act which violates a law, divine or human; an act which violates a rule of moral duty; an offense against the laws of right, prescribed by God or man, or against any rule of duty plainly implied in those laws. A crime may consist in omission or neglect, as well as in commission, or positive transgression…”
Any governor who ignores the State Constitution, ignores State law, violates his Oath of Office, and usurps power must be removed from office. 4
1I haven’t read the obamacare Act. It is over 2000 pages long, and is being implemented right now by thousands of more pages of HHS & IRS Rules. Our Framers warned us of laws which were
“… so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow…”(Federalist Paper No. 62, 4th para from end)
2 The hyperlinks at lexus nexus don’t work. To find the text of the Tennessee Health Freedom Act, click on http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/ then type in the search term, “Tennessee Health Freedom Act”, jump thru the hoops, and you will find the Act. It is short and worth reading.
3 See, e.g. these model Nullification Resolutions for obamacare
4 Impeachment and removal from office for usurpations of power is expressly authorized by our federal Constitution: See, as to removing a President who usurps power: Federalist Paper No. 66, 2nd para, and No. 77, last para. As to removing federal judges who usurp power, see Federalist Paper No. 81, 8th
December 12, 2012